The Weekly TV Roundup: June 28
Cheap TVs, bad TVs, good TVs, eight thousand dollar TVs...
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This week's roundup is actually a double roundup, including highlights from last week. Seiki decides to go old school with a line of retro TVs, Nintendo shows off a smart platform on the Wii U, and we review stacks of TVs, as usual.
Sharp isn't usually known for making smaller TVs, yet here is their latest 40-inch LED. With a measly refresh rate of 60 Hz and substandard color, sports fans will notice something lacking during the big game. Still, good quality on a cheaper, smaller TV like this is usually uncommon. "Sharp’s 40-inch 550U has a lot going for it: a pleasing design, a unique interface, and a decent picture, all for around $550."
The ZT60 is an outstanding plasma television. Really, that's all there is to it. The picture quality alone is enough to make any display enthusiast weep tears of joy. The rest of us will weep at the price point: $4,100 MSRP for the 65-inch model, though "you're paying for the best display to grace the market since 2008—it's practically fit for a king."
This TV stands as a reminder that 720p is still a maximum resolution on some displays (booo). To the refined eye, the R400A will blind you with its motion blurring and poor viewing angle. Considerably less picky viewers will enjoy above-average contrast and color quality."With great color production and sluggish motion response, the R400A is fantastically mediocre."
Could there be a TV under $300 that has outstanding quality? Probably no–wait, what's that? The Insignia E400 is here to save the day! With pleasant color accuracy, motion performance, and contrast, this television is the savior of cheapskates everywhere! "Despite some flaws, this is one of the best TVs you’ll find for under $300."
The W900A is a real powerhouse with a beautiful design, though beauty isn't limited to the casing: Sony's new menu interface ditches the archaic "XMB" navigation for a more intuitive design, making menus clear and easy to use. There are plenty of apps to be downloaded, but not much beyond that. Unless you own Sony's Xperia phone, you won't be getting much out of the W900A's smart features. With a picture this good, $3,299.99 MSRP doesn't seem too bad. Pretty bad, but not too bad.
Live from CE Week
Some of our staff got to check out CE Week in New York this week. We found some retro treats and exorbitantly priced televisions.
1950s nostalgia isn't limited to Johnny Rockets and grandma's old photo albums–retro TVs from Seiki are here. We figured these blasts from the past would be latency-free CRTs, but it turns out they're HDMI-enabled 1080p TVs of today, cleverly disguised in a shell of nostalgia.
Sharp announced its first 4K TV for the US. We know you just want the juicy details, so here they are: 4K resolution, 70 inches, $8,000. That's eight. Thousand. Big Ones. Are you and your wallet ready for the future? If not, then don't even think about looking into Westinghouse's $16,000 4K Interactive White Board. This is for fancy corporate offices only.
Finally, we checked out some food apps. Everybody likes apps, right? They're hip.
We rounded up some of the better entry-level TVs we've reviewed recently into a handy article. Want a great LED for the least amount of money? Try the Toshiba L1350U. The highest scoring TV (and winner of our Editors' Choice award) is the Panasonic S60. This plasma performed highly on most tests, though it is significantly pricier than the other displays.
Who would have guessed video game consoles would come with their own smart platforms? Nintendo's newest system comes with Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, but the most interesting feature is TV Tag. By using the Wii U's enormous touchscreen controller, you can tweet along with primetime programming. You won't find as many apps here as on your typical smart TV, but the Wii U has enough functionality to qualify as an interesting effort.
If you were looking forward to an LG review this week, these deals might make up for it. The 55LM4700 is down to $769, the 55LM6200 has been reduced from $2,099 MSRP to $899, and the 50PN6500 is now at $549. The smallest LG this week, the 42 inch LM3400, is currently $398.
As for other brands, Sceptre's X408BV-FHD has a price shorter than its name, at $239. Amazon is selling the Panasonic TC-L42E60 for $629, and the Toshiba 32L1350 (which we recommended in our entry-level TV roundup) is only $248. Last but not least, a home theater speaker system from JBL is sitting at $349, originally priced at $1,199.